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Liverpool boss unhappy with referee

last updated Tuesday 14th March 2006, 10:18 AM
Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez

RAFAEL BENITEZ has admitted his frustration at the refereeing system that will keep Xabi Alonso out of tomorrow's crucial clash against Fulham - even though video evidence suggests the midfielder's red card at Highbury on Sunday was a mistake.

Alonso was given a second yellow card minutes before Thierry Henry claimed the deciding goal in Arsenal's 2-1 victory, but TV replays clearly showed that the Span-iard's tackle on Mathieu Flamini had in fact been caused by a slip.

Referee Steve Bennett ordered the player off despite not having been looking in the direction of the incident, but even after viewing replays after the game the Kent official stuck to his decision.

And Benitez, who sent assistant Alex Miller on a failed mission to reason with Bennett in his dressing room, believes it is unfair that a referee is not made more accountable for his errors by a higher authority - something which would potentially have allowed Alonso's one-match punishment to be lifted post-match.

He said: "He said it was a tackle and he doesn't want to change his mind. You can't do anything else. We talked to the supervisor of the referees (referees' chief Keith Hackett) and he said the referee needs to change his decision.

"What can be done? Maybe it is a question you can put to the supervisor of the referees. Maybe he can explain to you why this happens when things are so clear.

"At the end we lose Xabi Alonso and two points in the race to finish in the top four. That means big money.

"But the referee doesn't want to change his mind. I can accept mistakes because it is not easy. But after you watch the video I can't under-stand why you continue to say the same thing.

Source David Prior at the Daily Post

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